When Theresa May visited Donald Trump in the White House back in January, one particular set of images from the meeting began doing the rounds on social media. The photos showed the odd couple holding hands as they walked from the Oval Office to a press conference, with May seeming to suppress an awkward smile.
The whole situation looked pretty embarrassing (especially to those of us who aren’t overjoyed – to put it mildly – by the thought of a political love-in between the US and the UK right now).
However, in a new interview with US Vogue, the prime minister has spoken out about the incident for the first time, and assures us there was nothing untoward going on. Apparently, Trump was just “being a gentleman”.
When asked about it by journalist Gaby Wood, May laughed it off. "I think he was actually being a gentleman,” she said. “We were about to walk down a ramp, and he said it might be a bit awkward.”
May was less keen to reveal what the pair actually spoke about during the visit, however. Before Trump was elected, May had called Trump’s comments about women “unacceptable”, but when asked by Vogue if she confronted him about his views, she hesitated.
“Well, I don’t . . . ,” she said. “We don’t comment on private conversations that take place. All I would say is, I’ve been very clear: I’m not afraid to raise issues. And the nature of the relationship is such that we should be able to be frank and open with each other.”
In the interview, which was conducted a few days after the visit, May was also asked about fashion sense as well as politics, and she posed for a series of accompanying photos taken by Annie Leibovitz. The images were taken at Chequers, the prime minister’s official country residence, and she is shown wearing a dark blue coat and dress by LK Bennett.
The magazine describes May’s style as “decidedly no-drama” and says she takes care to maintain a “carefully preserved carapace of conformity”. During the interview, May wears “a restrained navy skirt suit, a necklace of large cream-colored beads, and black patent pumps with a red velvet bow and sparkly heels,” Wood writes. “Though much has been made of her ostentatious footwear (knee-high patent boots, brogues with a touch of diamanté, kitten heels in a range of animal prints), her dazzle is always in the undertow.”
When asked about the £1000 Amanda Wakeley trousers she wore in a photoshoot for The Sunday Times Magazine last year, which drew criticism from some sections of the media, May was resolute.
“Look, throughout my political career, people have commented on what I wear. That’s just something that happens, and you accept that. But it doesn’t stop me from going out and enjoying fashion. And I also think it’s important to be able to show that a woman can do a job like this and still be interested in clothes.”
Considering that former prime minister David Cameron wore £3,500 bespoke suits, we have to agree.